Discussion paper

DP12853 Competition in health care markets: treatment volume and quality

This paper introduces a workhorse model to analyze the effects of provider and insurer competition in health care markets. The two contracting imperfections we focus on are the following: (i) whether or not a patient should be treated and (ii) treatment quality are both not contractible. We derive conditions under which the market can implement first best quality and volume with the optimal competition intensities. First best competition intensity is strictly positive in both markets. If there is under-investment in quality, provider competition should be increased. Increasing insurer competition tends to increase treatment volume. If the planner cannot make the provider market competitive enough, it is optimal to increase insurer competition beyond its first best level thereby creating over-treatment.


Boone, J (2018), ‘DP12853 Competition in health care markets: treatment volume and quality‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 12853. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp12853